About

A mezzo-soprano praised for her “stylish” singing (Opera Magazine) and the “emotional force” (The Times) of her performances, Joanna Harries enjoys a varied career on both the opera stage and recital platform.

A recent graduate of the National Opera Studio, in the 2022/23 season Joanna makes her debut with Opera Rara and the London Philharmonic Orchestra as Finocchini in Offenbach’s La Princesse de Trébizonde (recording and concert performance at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall), Contessa Ceprano Rigoletto for Opera Holland Park, Lucinda La forza dell’amor paterno for The Barber Opera. She is the mezzo soloist for Paul Rissmann’s Through the Looking Glass suite with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Concert Hall and is one of the 25 singers competing in the 2022 Wigmore Hall/Bollinger International Song Competition with duo partner Thomas Ang. She also brings mental health initiative SongPath back to Oxford Lieder’s 2022 Festival with co-founder Jess Dandy.

In the 2021/22 season Joanna was a Young Artist at the National Opera Studio in London, performing scenes as Cherubino, Idamante, Ruggiero, Le Prince Charmant and Cenerentola with the orchestras of English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North and Scottish Opera. Concerts this season included a tour of Scandinavian Song with Sholto Kynoch for Oxford Lieder, a series of recitals for Opera Prelude and a Britten Pears Young Artist recital with Sarah Connolly and Joseph Middleton. Joanna was awarded a Sybil Tutton Opera Award and Tait Memorial Trust Award, and was a finalist in the inaugural Boosey & Hawkes SingFinzi competition.

More about Joanna

Born in New Zealand and raised in Wales, Joanna was a choral scholar at the University of Cambridge and before training at the Royal Northern College of Music and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Her opera roles stretch from baroque to contemporary, including Dido Dido and Aenea (Purcell), Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro, Zerlina Don Giovanni and Bastienne Bastien und Bastienne (Mozart), Hélène Une éducation manquée (Chabrier), Varvara Kat’a Kabanova and Karolka Jenůfa (Janáček), the Drummer Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Ullmann), and Sāvitri Sāvitri (Holst). She has performed with companies including Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera Holland Park, Grange Park Opera, Longborough Festival Opera and British Youth Opera. Joanna was also an Emerging Artist for the Royal Opera House “Opera Dots” programme.

As concert soloist she has performed at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, with the BBC Philharmonic at Harrogate Royal Hall, and at the Bach Festival Świdnica in Poland. A keen recitalist, Joanna has performed with Oxford Lieder, the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings, Pushkin House and the National Portrait Gallery. She is an Opera Prelude Young Artist, Handel House Talent artist and Britten-Pears Young Artist, and was awarded the Edith Brass Prize for Lieder at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Joanna is in demand as a performer of contemporary music and has premiered roles in new operas including Prometheus in Tim Benjamin’s The Fire of Olympus, Tartine in David Blake & Keith Warner’s Scoring a Century for British Youth Opera, Awen (cover) in Pwyll ap Sion’s Gair ar Gnawd for Welsh National Opera, and Girl/Psychiatrist in Scott Stroman & Tamsin Collison’s Fever Pitch, an adaptation of the iconic Nick Hornby book, and Diana in Scott Stroman’s new opera The Weekend based on Michael Palin’s play. She has also premiered works by composers Lucy Armstrong (Cheese at the Bridgewater Hall), Melissa Douglas (Sonnet 116 at the John Ryland’s Library, Manchester), Michael Betteridge (Dawn Chorus at the Royal Exchange Theatre), and Anna Appleby (winning composition, 2015 Rosamond Prize). She performed as vocal soloist in the UK revival of Steve Reich’s video opera Three Tales (Ensemble BPM) and has collaborated with performance artist Maeve Rendle at Manchester Art Gallery, The Whitworth and the Harris Museum in Preston.

Joanna runs SongPath with co-founder Jess Dandy, a mental health initiative bringing together music, nature and mental health in specially curated outdoor events, alongside free workshops for local branches of mental health charity Mind. Since 2019 they have taken SongPath to Cumbria (Ulverston International Music Festival), Yorkshire (Leeds Lieder) and Oxfordshire (Oxford Lieder).In 2021 Joanna was awarded a Royal Philharmonic Society Enterprise Award for her new podcast Songs of the River.

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Reviews

Ullmann Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Drummer)

"An outstandingly intense cast (Chiara Vinci, Joanna Harries, Peter Brathwaite)...help to evoke the manic mixture of desperation, determination and fatalistic urgency.”
Richard Morrison - The Times

Handel Agrippina (Ottone)

"Another outstanding interpretation was that of Joanna Harries as Ottone...She has a beautifully schooled mezzo and projected each of her emotionally penetrating arias with great accomplishment."
Opera Scotland